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Unusually high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in whale sharks and reef manta rays


Couturier, LIE and Rohner, CA and Richardson, AJ and Pierce, SJ and Marshall, AD and Jaine, FRA and Townsend, KA and Bennett, MB and Weeks, SJ and Nichols, PD, Unusually high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in whale sharks and reef manta rays, Lipids, 48, (10) pp. 1029-1034. ISSN 0024-4201 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11745-013-3829-8


Fatty acid (FA) signature analysis has been increasingly used to assess dietary preferences and trophodynamics in marine animals. We investigated FA signatures of connective tissue of the whale shark Rhincodon typus and muscle tissue of the reef manta ray Manta alfredi. We found high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), dominated by arachidonic acid (20:4n-6; 12-17 % of total FA), and comparatively lower levels of the essential n-3 PUFA - eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3; ∼1 %) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3; 3-10 %). Whale sharks and reef manta rays are regularly observed feeding on surface aggregations of coastal crustacean zooplankton during the day, which generally have FA profiles dominated by n-3 PUFA. The high levels of n-6 PUFA in both giant elasmobranchs raise new questions about the origin of their main food source.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:arachidonic acid, elasmobranch, n-3 fatty acids, planktivores, zooplankton
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal physiology - systems
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Nichols, PD (Dr Peter Nichols)
ID Code:118941
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-24
Last Modified:2017-10-16
Downloads:122 View Download Statistics

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